Austin freezes


Michael Reeves

WREAKING HAVOC: A tree in Austin splits due to the weight of ice on it’s branches. Multiple interstates were shut down in Texas as a result of slick roads.

Lucille Price, Print Editor-in-Chief

Facing icy roads, freezing rain, dodging tree debris, and damaged power lines, Austinites felt the wrath of an intense ice storm that lasted nearly 72 hours. 

The crisis struck late on Monday, Jan. 30, and tested the strength of the community and infrastructure. Tuesday temperatures reached 29 F with freezing rain until Thursday according to

Austin Independent School District (AISD) opted to close all AISD campuses and related events from Tuesday, Jan. 31 until Friday, Feb. 3 and many districts nearby followed.

“Teachers were informed about changes and the implications of those changes in terms of programs and operations,” Principal Mark Robinson said. “For example, when did athletic games need to be rescheduled? When could we start fine arts practices again? Or because we resumed operations over the weekend, what was allowed and what was not allowed and so there was a lot of communication about that.”

Bowie’s varsity basketball team was directly impacted by the shut down. Boys varsity basketball coach Trey Lindsey oversees the challenges presented by rescheduling games in the middle of the season.

 “We’re the only team in the district having to play four games in five days because we had a situation with Akins where they basically opted not to play us Saturday,” Lindsey said. “So we had to go Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday in two back-to-back games and we’re right in the middle of a run towards the playoffs.”

The team was unable to practice for three of the four days during the storm, but was able to get a practice in on Friday afternoon when weather conditions were safer. 

“We thought we were playing Saturday originally but that game ended up getting canceled the morning of the game so that was bad in itself,” Lindsey said. “It was an adventure but we were able to do one shoot around on that Friday, and then we were able to practice Saturday, but those were three days off in the middle of the season that we were obviously not expecting but we got a couple practices in and then back at it on Monday and we played that night.”

Junior player Mason Wasserberger felt the effects of playing back to back games.

“My legs are so sore right now, everyone’s tired. But we wanted to get in the gym during the ice storm but stuff was all closed pretty much, I’ve heard some complaints but we all know that we have to pretty much win out to make the playoffs and a lot of them are seniors so they know this is like their last week of basketball so they’re still enjoying it,” Wasserberger said. “Just trying to enjoy every moment with each other before it ends.”

Both Wasserberger and his coach have hope for their team despite the obstacles the icy weather brought them this season.

“Four games in five days is gonna take a toll on kids and three of those are on the road,” Lindsey said. “So, I wish we could even say we have more home games but we got tough kids and they know it’s the home stretch and they know that it’s for everything now to extend our season so they’re not complaining, they’re showing up and they are in good moods every day, they’re in good spirits and feeling good so I think we’ll be just fine.”

Lindsey was reminded of the 2021 snow storm’s rolling blackouts caused by Texas’ inadequate power grid which canceled school.

“After hearing AISD was canceling events, we were all a little nervous after the winter storms and how that’s gone,” Lindsey said. “Basically every basketball season for the last four years has had some sort of interruption if you’re in Austin, so I think every coach around the city felt similar. We were all texting each other like, ‘oh, here we go again’ but luckily [storm conditions] didn’t get too bad.”

Robinson felt similarly. 

“With the way that we all left school on Monday, it was eerily reminiscent of previous times when we knew that we needed to take everything with us because we might not be coming back for a while so I think everybody agreed that it was the right thing to do when we saw the freezing conditions, to keep everybody safe at home,” Robinson said. “I had no concerns with being home on Tuesday and Wednesday and then since there were still concerns about freezing rain that morning, it made sense that we would need time to make sure that we could get everybody safely to school. We did see the ice and broken limbs and we knew that we had significant power outages in the city.”

According to, Travis county had 146,000 customers without power. Unlike the storm of 2021, the 2023 ice storm’s power outages were a result of falling trees weighed down by frozen rain.

“We’re still in the process of cleanup. We were asked to take care of what we could and so I think students are probably seeing that in the last few days,” Robinson said. “But anything that’s too big or we’re gonna require heavy equipment for us to fix trees that may be over sidewalks or that we have concerns about continuing to fall, we’ve surrounded those with caution tape so that they don’t present an immediate danger until the district can come help us with that clean-up.”

Despite maintaining power, Bowie was hit by the storm with broken tree limbs. Student council Vice President Bailey Alsup knew and her team has worked to keep 

“I was really sad about how destructive the ice storm was to lots of plants around the area at Bowie because in student council we have been working so hard on the school’s gardens all year just to have them freeze over,” Alsup said.